Federal Jury Convicts Miami Man for Assaulting and Paralyzing a Vo-Tech Classmate
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
A man was convicted Friday in federal court for paralyzing a fellow student when he picked him up and slammed him head-first onto the ground during a surprise attack in 2017, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
A federal jury found Jace Christian Williams, 23, of Miami, Oklahoma, guilty of maiming in Indian Country. The defendant also opted to plead guilty just before closing arguments to the charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury in Indian Country.
“Jace Williams’ anger and ego led to an assault that paralyzed his victim. His conduct was intentional, violent and criminal,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “The FBI, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and federal prosecutors are to be commended for their investigation and prosecution of this case.”
The victim and defendant knew one another and attended the same technical school in Afton. In the days leading up to the crime, Williams expressed anger toward the victim because he felt the victim had interfered and ruined Williams’ chances of having a sexual encounter with two women. The defendant shared his frustration with fellow classmates. Williams told one student that he was going to make sure the victim couldn’t “use his arms or legs for five months.”
On Nov. 3, 2017, another classmate drove Williams and two friends to watch a fight that was slated to happen between two different men at E. 200 Rd in Afton. The driver sat in his truck and scrolled through his phone after arriving. The victim and multiple other students also drove to the location to watch the fight.
As the victim and other students assembled in a circle waiting for the fight to begin, multiple witnesses from different vantage points saw Williams suddenly approach the victim from behind in a surprise attack.
Before the victim could turn around, Williams wrapped his arms around the victim’s body, lifted him backward and slammed him head-first onto the ground. The maneuver was similar to what is commonly referred to as a “suplex.” Once the victim was on the ground then on his stomach, Williams proceeded to punch the victim in the back repeatedly then spat on him.
Williams’ two friends then returned to the truck and told the driver Williams had jumped the victim and that it was bad. Soon after, Williams entered the truck, breathing heavily, and demanded the driver take him home. The driver testified that Williams ripped off his own shirt and bragged that what he had done to the victim was “fun” and that he wanted to do it again. The driver said he feared the defendant at that point and complied.
A witness to the crime called 911 and waited for paramedics to arrive. The victim was transported to a hospital in Joplin, Missouri. The victim sustained a C6-7 fracture-subluxation with bilateral locked facets and paralysis as a result of the injuries inflicted by Williams. The victim remains paraplegic.
The crime occurred within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation reservation. The FBI and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard M. Cella and Brandon A. Skates are prosecuting the case.
Updated February 25, 2022
Indian Country Law and Justice